This weekend’s EPL matches should prove to be an exciting card for bettors and casual fans alike. With a few very closely contested matches, it should prove interesting to see who can emerge on top. With Manchester United receiving very poor odds, most bettors wlll be wise to steer clear of them, at least this week. We’ll examine their matches as well as the rest of the card in this preview. All betting odds are taken from Bodog.
EPL Soccer, Saturday Sept 31, 2011
Everton (39/20) vs. Liverpool (7/5)
Everton held their own against Manchester City last week, but ended up losing after an hour of scoreless play. Tim Cahill went down with an injury which hurt Everton severely, as he had been Everton’s top player on the offensive end.
Everton snuck out with a 1-0 victory against Blackburn, though they really should have lost, after Blackburn blew two penalty kicks. The next game they tied Aston Villa 2-2, though they likely should have won that one as well. The problem is that Everton lacks the firepower of Liverpool. Liverpool has an especially pronounced advantage at midfield, where Charlie Adam, the Brazillian Lucas, and Steven Gerrard should control the match to some degree as he attempts to reach full health.
Everton just doesn’t have the star power to match up with Liverpool. Louis Saha and Tim Cahill are both good strikers and should enable Everton to hold fort, until their two prospects come into their own. It just shows Liverpool’s superior depth, so even if Everton is able to play deadlock soccer, the fresh bodies will end up making the difference. Bettors should be able to back Liverpool with confidence in this one and at 7/5 odds, it is a pretty decent value.
Aston Villa (20/33) vs. Wigan Athletic (9/2)
Aston Villa managed to draw against QPR last weekend and they have yet to lose an EPL match. That is the good news. The bad news is that of all those matches, they have actually only won one of them, as the rest were draws. Of course this leaves them in the middle of the pack, but this game against the lowly Letics should prove to be their second outright victory of the year.
Gabriel Agbonlahor and Darren Bent are both excellent players for Aston and should produce great stats. Moreover, Wigan has lost three games in a row and has looked very inept on offense, which has been their main problem, mostly stemming from their low budget talent deprived lineup. Villa should take care of business, as most teams have against Wigan. Expect them to get the full three points for this match.
Blackburn Rovers (5/1) vs. Manchester City (5/9)
Blackburn looked great against Arsenal last weekend, but then they suffered a loss to Newcastle. They have been weak defensively, and that is the main reason they are dogs in this one. Junior Hoilett is a solid offensive option, though, and if he plays at the top of his game, he gives Blackburn at least a remote chance at victory.
MC beat Everton last weekend and they should be a force for all other contenders to deal with this year. Carlos Tevez is now suspended. It probably won’t make much of a difference against a team like Blackburn though, as Joe Hart, Micah Richards, Vincent Kompany, Eden Dzeko and Samir Nasri are all players that Blackburn will have a lot of trouble with. It just doesn’t bode well for the big underdogs, and while MC doesn’t offer a ton of betting value in this one, bettors are still wise to back them on a moneyline.
Wolverhampton Wanderers (3/2) vs. Newcastle United (7/4)
The Wolves have looked far better than most expected this season and find themselves with 3/2 odds in a game most wouldn’t have figured them to be so evenly matched in, at least at the start of this season. The Wolves managed 7 goals in their first 3 matches, but since have lost three straight. Their performance against Liverpool last week was pretty solid, however, and if they can equal that effort and level of play, it should be enough for a victory over Newcastle.
Matt Jarvis has been great for the Wolves and should have a big match. The problem for Jarvis and the Wolves is that Newcastle is an excellent defensivec team and they have exceeded expectations, much like the Wolves.
With excellent goalies on both sides and strong defenses, the ‘under’ on the goals is an attractive bet in this one, as it very well could be a scoreless match.
Sunderland (5/4) vs. West Brom. Albion (21/10)
Sunderland was very active with transfer players, but it is highly debateable as to whether the moves actually bolstered their lineup nor made them any better. They’re off to a rough start, but still find themselves on top of West Brom. in the standings.
Seb Larsson is really the only Sunderland player that poses a significant threat offensively, which will pose a problem for Sunderland scoring goals. West Brom has been offensively challenged, as well, though, and have managed only 3 goals in their first 6 games. They were decent against MU and Chelsea but they haven’t looked much more than decent and haven’t done any damage since then.
With both teams offensively challenged and relatively good on defense, this one should be a low scoring affair, and the ‘draw’ line is pretty decent at 23/10, a wise bet for EPL bettors.
Manchester United (1/7) vs. Norwich City (18/1)
This is undoubtedly the least fair match of the week, as evidenced by the ridiculous odds in this one. United had a draw against Stoke City, but they looked human against FC Basel, and without Nemanja Vidic, their defense will have to work at least twice as hard, though their offense has bolstered them with 22 goals in 6 matches, 3.66 goals per game.
One problem for United is that Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez are out with injury, but it’s not like they lack firepower outside of those two, anyway. Danny Wellbeck can easily pick up the slack.
While Norwich has won their last two games, they are pretty badly outmatched. However, they have been impressive and have looked good against some decent teams. They just don’t have the defense to cover United though, and MC should have no problem at least scoring 4 goals in this one. The betting odds are very unattractive, however, and Norwich could force a draw if they can manage to score a couple goals. I don’t recommend betting on this one, at least not a moneyline.
Bolton Wanderers (11/2) vs. Chelsea (1/2)
Chelsea is a mere three points from the top. Juan Mata gives them a quick and dynamic player, but Fernando Torres is out for the next three games. Chelsea has the depth to mitigate that problem, though, with a host of goalscorers to step in and produce offense. Dider Drogba, Nicolas Anelka, Daniel Sturridge and Romelu Lukaku are all capable goal scorers, and Lukaku performed excellent in Belgium and should be interesting as he takes his game to a bigger stage.
Bolton is very poor defensively. They have given up 14 goals in their last 5 games. Chelsea should be able to exploit this advantage with their firepower. Moreover, Bolton is poor offensively, not exactly a good thing when you’re giving up nearly 3 goals a game. They have scored only 4 goals in their last 5 matches, though all the matches have been against premier competition (MC, MU, Arsenal, Liverpool). There’s no reason to expect Bolton to be able to hold off another above-average opponent in Chelsea. Though Chelsea had a rough time in Valencia Wednesday, their depth should be enough to offset any fatigue. Bettors are wise to back Chelsea given their utter superiority against a Bolton team with little going for them.
Swansea City (8/5) vs. Stoke City (33/20)
Swansea has yet to give up a goal at home this year and they play an exciting brand of soccer that is great for fans. Michel Vorm and Ashley Williams are a good bet to score in this match, as they both are great at home. Stoke City lost badly to Sunderland two weeks ago and they will have to be very careful against Swansea, as their defense is really all they have going for them, and conceding a goal could be deadly. Still, their defense really is that good, and it won’t take more than a goal or two to win this one, with Stoke City quite likely to go scoreless, making the ‘under’ 2.5 goals a pretty good bet.
Fulham (EVEN) vs. QPR (14/5)
Fulham has yet to win a game this season, yet they find themselves favorites against a QPR team that is nearly entirely new after bringing in a heap of transfers. They lost 4-0 in the opening game of the season, prompting undue panic, but since have won 2 of their last 3. They lack offensive firepower and will be searching for a good striker when the transfer window opens again. Joey Barton is really QPR’s only decent offensive threat, and this game is going to be a low scoring one, almost definitely. While Fulham is favored, don’t expect much more than a 1-0 win at best, and it is highly possible that this one ends in draw, which at 9/4 odds is a pretty darn good value for bettors.
Tottenham Hotspur (11/10) vs. Arsenal (47/20)
Tottenham really looks good in this match. They have been playing well and Manager Harry Redknapp was able to rest all of his starters except Kyle Walker in the match Thursday against Shamrock. Tott won the game 3-1, as well.
Arsenal was able to pull off a 2-1 win over Olympiacos Wednesday. Five of Arsenal’s players started Wednesday and also played against Bolton last weekend. Fatigue can and should be a problem for Arsenal. They lost 4-3 to Blackburn, and while this isn’t a far away road game, it is still a road game, which has been a weak point for Arsenal.
Tottenham will be without Michael Dawson for the fourth straight game and William Gallas who has yet to play this year. Niko Kranjacar and Tom Huddlestone are both unlikely to play, as well, not that either are vital to the Spurs’ success.
Tottenham’s superior midfield play should make the difference. Scott Parker has helped the defense give up a mere one goal in the last three games and he’s been playing very solid defense. Along with Sandro, Parker will be able to put a halt to Mikel Areta and Aaron Ramsey’s game. Tottenham also has Rafael van der Vaart at midfield. Last season, van der Vaart scored 3 goals and assisted on 2, playing a hand in all but one goal as Tottenham won last year. He did manage to score his first goal of this season last weekend. Arsenal’s defense around the goal is particularly weak and both van der Vaart and Luka Modric should have a field day. Gareth Bale is also a solid midfielder and also scored his first goal fo the season last weekend.
It’s not that Arsenal lacks offensive firepower. It’s just that the Spurs’ defense is too strong and they have only given up 1 goal in their last 3 games. Tottenham offers excellent value in this match and bettors will be very wise to back them against an Arsenal team that is going to have a lot of trouble getting quality looks at the goal.
After reading these in-depth previews, you likely have a good idea of a few bets. Back up these opinions with a wager at Bodog, where they offer 10% bonuses on deposits and a great free cashout system. We recommend Bodog for all your EPL betting.